My family had a dog named Sandy when I was very little, but she died when I was six so I don't remember very much about her. After that, my brother and I made half-hearted requests for a new dog every now and then, but the requests never resulted in a new puppy because did I mention half-hearted?
And then Emily came along.
And she was OBSESSED WITH DOGS.
When Emily was in first grade, my mom sewed felt patches all over a white sweatsuit for Halloween, but Em wore that puppy costume long after October 31st.
And then Emily took things to a whole new level when she started barking and crawling on all fours to the door when the doorbell rang.
And in February 2003, we got Rosie.
There was some family discord about what to name our new puppy, but when we found out that she was born on December 27th, Emily's birthday, we all agreed that we had to name her Rosie, after Em's middle name, Rose.
Rosie was an English Springer Spaniel, and we quickly learned they weren't kidding about the "spring" part. A few weeks after we got her, my dad made himself a big, juicy sandwich for lunch, put it on the table, and went out to get a soda from the garage fridge. When he came back inside, the sandwich was gone, and Rosie had crumbs on her mouth. Let's just say Dad was less than thrilled with her display of agility and speed eating.
My brother and I were talking about The Notorious Sandwich Incident of 2003 this weekend. We both thought that after Rosie's brazen act she wouldn't make it 13 more days in our house, let alone 13 more years.
But she defied the odds.
That's not to say she stopped eating forbidden treats.
There was the time she ate 30 lollipops intended to be Emily's class Valentines. She gave herself away because she emerged from her candy binge with lollipop wrappers stuck in her long, floppy ears.
One time she ate a platter of gourmet chocolate covered pretzels my mom got from her students.
And when she was definitely old enough to know better, she ate the two layer heart shaped cake I made for my parents' 25th anniversary. I came home from work on my lunch hour to ice the cake, and it was gone.
Just this past October, my mom and I returned from an afternoon of shopping, and Rosie was standing in the hallway surrounded by empty Halloween candy wrappers.
They say chocolate isn't good for dogs, but it never bothered Rosie.
Rose loved to be outside and in the water. She went with us on vacations to the lake and for hikes in the woods. She loved to be in the backyard, drinking from the pond and chasing squirrels and laying in the sunshine.
But mostly, she loved to be with her people.
She usually laid in the middle of the hallway, where she could see the kitchen and the family room, and keep an eye on the front door.
At night she'd drag her bed out to the family room to be with everyone. She'd get all settled in and fall asleep, but when she heard the television click off, she'd jump right up and trot into her crate for bed.
You could always count on Rosie to hear the garage and be waiting for you at the door when you came inside.
And if she was outside alone for too long, she'd come looking for a friend.
She wasn't allowed upstairs, but when someone went up, she'd wait patiently on the landing for them to come back down.
She was a dog, but for thirteen years, she was part of our family.
And she was Emily's best friend.
I don't think any of us appreciated Rosie's loyalty and unconditional love more than Emily did.
Over the last two weeks, Rosie's health declined. On Friday, my parents knew it was time. I went over to see her one last time after work, and I sat down next to her on the floor. She was weak and tired, but she picked her head up and put it on my knee. Up until the very end, she really loved her people.
And her people are really going to miss her.